Pawn Shop Owner Donates 580 Wheelchairs To People Who Haven’t Left Their Homes In Years, And It Isn’t Stopping There


Movement is one of the most underrated wonders of life that everybody seems to take for granted, until they realize it is gone.  This story is about how 580 fortunate and lucky people were able to gain their freedom back, all because of a wonderful and selfless businessman’s zeal and determination.

This all began in the Connecticut pawnshop of Philip Pavone in 2009 when he had a chance encounter on an opportunity to make a huge difference in people’s livelihood. He realized that he was in possession of a couple of motorized wheelchairs he wasn’t able to sell, so in an attempt to make space for new inventory coming in, he put out an ad in the local paper to give them away for free. In just two weeks, Pavone received surprisingly more than 60 responses to his ad.

It was after the shocking number of responses he read that Pavone realized the dire need of people for something to help them with their movement. Most of those that replied to his ad sadly shared that their insurance does not cover costs of motorized wheelchairs which normally costed between $4,000-$40,000.

“At that moment, I realized how many people out there were suffering. It was unbelievable. Some of the people writing to me hadn’t left their homes for months, even years at a time. Many were elderly and had no one to help them.” Pavone shared.


No stranger to struggle and pain, Pavone himself was a cancer survivor and Vietnam veteran and he knew he needed to take action and help these people who could not even see the world. The first thing he did was bought, repaired and gave away four wheelchairs. It was at this time that he realized how many wheelchairs were rotting in basements and garages, no matter if they were just forgotten about or broken. He then came up with a brilliant idea of asking people to donate them in order for him to repair it and give it away, which eventually led to the beginning of AZ Pawn’s Gift of Mobility.

Pavone culminates his charity each year with an event to celebrate the holiday season. It is in this yearly party where he pairs recipients with their chairs and scooters and gives away at least 100 chairs in just a single day. Part of those that have received chairs included a Holocaust survivor, a woman with a rare degenerative disease, a war veteran and various patients from local nursing homes and rehab centers.

“Once we give these chairs to people and see how grateful they are —the tears and the hugging and kissing—I know we’re making a difference,” says Pavone. “These chairs offer a way for people to live an independent life.”


Between March 1 to October 31, Pavone accepts donations of all kinds of chairs and scooters which can be dropped of at AZ Pawnshop in Norwich, Connecticut. Volunteers can also pick up chairs from anywhere within a 40-mile radius to the pawnshop. This coming holiday season, Pavone once again is setting a goal to give away at the very least 100 chairs and scooters to recipients in need – all for free. He was recently awarded as a GoFundMe Hero for all his efforts in helping those who cannot walk. This award is definitely speeding up his goal of raising $50,000 for the collection and repair of all chairs donated.

If you are willing to help and make a difference in these people’s lives to be integrated back into their communities, you can go to his GoFundMe campaign and make a donation:

If you have a chair to donate, feel free to email [email protected].

Holiday giveaway applications will be accepted on September 1, 2019 onwards, for any of you who can pick them up in the Norwich area. All you need to do is send a letter to AZ Pawn Gift of Mobility in 442 East Main Street, Norwich, CT 06360.


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